Big Lake Holds Snow School

May 12, 2016 | Adin Neufeld

Snow School is a fun, educational field trip opportunity operated by the Oregon Conference through its Big Lake Youth Camp in central Oregon. This program is intended to give children a snowy outdoor educational experience. As a home-schooled sixth-grader, I recently went to experience it for myself.

Andrew Ordelheide, Big Lake assistant director, taught us to thrive in the snow. While I have visited Big Lake many times, this was my first school experience there. The weather was gorgeous. The deep snow glistened in the sun. The temperature was perfect for a few days of exploring a winter wonderland.

We studied what kinds of food are efficient and calorie-dense for carrying on snow excursions. We learned how to use a map and compass to create a safe route to our destination, which included a fun scavenger hunt using our compass. We discussed what clothes to wear while hiking in snowy conditions and that adventures in the snow are safer if you have a friend.  

We learned about several kinds of snow shelters. Each group built a snow cave. My sister’s group built an igloo, while my group built a cave with ice beds for each member. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend the night in our cave — maybe next year.

Big Lake snow school was a great experience. I would recommend it to all school-age kids, whether from a regular school or home school. The activities are aimed at third through eighth grade.

Ordelheide says Big Lake will offer Snow School next year, January through March.

Big Lake offers four different programs/themes:

  • Snow Skills: equipping students to thrive in the winter wilderness;
  • High Mountain Physical Science: weather patterns, snowflake formation and more;
  • Animals in the Snow: local animal populations and adaptations they make to live in a snowy winter;
  • Mountain Education: brief overview of elements from each of the other themes.

Ordelheide’s goal is to help kids learn about the great snowy outdoors and fall in love with it and its Creator. Programs include all meals and one night's stay. If your school or home-school group would like to join the fun, registration for the 2016–2017 school year has already begun.